Atlantic Cape Community College conferred the fifth President’s Distinguished Alumni Award to Thomas Innocente, a professor and retired law enforcement officer, at the 47th annual commencement, May 22.
Innocente, of Somers Point, was a member of the first Atlantic Cape class, which began in September 1966, with evening classes at Atlantic City High School. He earned an Associate in Science in Business in 1971, and transferred to The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, earning a degree in Criminal Justice in 1973. He later earned a master’s degree from Seton Hall University and enlisted in the New Jersey State Police.
He led a distinguished 30-year career as a state trooper and completed training at the FBI National Academy. He retired from the State Police in 1998 with the rank of Sergeant First Class.
As a military veteran prior to attending Atlantic Cape, Innocente transferred to a military reserve status in the U.S. Army, and as a result of his educational background, was able to qualify as a commissioned officer. He retired from the military as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 with 33 years of military service.
Innocente served as an adjunct instructor at Atlantic Cape since 1983, and became a full-time criminal justice professor in 2006. He also has been a business owner since 1990. He established a successful personal watercraft business that continues to grow and employ local workers.
The award, initiated by Atlantic Cape’s Alumni Association Advisory Committee, recognizes an Atlantic Cape graduate who has displayed professional, personal, public or community-based accomplishments. Past recipients include Dr. Valerie Travis-Reese, a New Jersey licensed professional counselor, Atlantic City Attorney Katherine Morris, Linwood Attorney Michael R. Rann and Superintendent of Northfield Community Schools Janice DeCicco Fipp.